James Foley

James Foley

Western Australia

Speaker type

  • Author
  • Illustrator / Designer
  • Cartoonist
  • Interstate
  • Virtual visits
available for virtual visits
James Foley makes picture books, middle grade novels and comics for kids. He’s the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot (2016), Dungzilla (2017) and Gastronauts(2018) star Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and Joe Tinker, her stinky baby brother. The fourth in the series, Chickensaurus, will be published in late 2020. James also illustrates the Toffle Towers series written by Tim Harris. James contributed to Total Quack Up (2018) and Funny Bones (2019), both anthologies of funny stories with proceeds going to charity. His earlier books My Dead Bunny(2015), In The Lion (2012), The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014) have all scored several honours, including children’s choice awards, shortlistings in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards, and selection to the International Youth Library’s White Raven list. The sequel to My Dead Bunny, There’s Something Weird About Lena, will be published in late 2020.


My sessions are funny, entertaining, interactive and inspiring. (They’re educational too, but don’t tell the kids that). I love encouraging students to make their own stories and to enjoy the creative process. I work with students from grades 1-12, and adults too.

I do 3 x 1hr sessions per day.

A typical 1 hour meet-the-author talk will include: 

  • my creative journey from childhood to now;
  • showing the students examples of stories and illustrations I made when I was their age;
  • talking about the general process of writing and illustrating and show early drafts;
  • reading a story; doing a demonstration drawing; and if there’s time we get the students to draw.

My talks can cover topics such as …

  • my creative journey: how I became an author/illustrator
  • the making of The Last Viking / The Last Viking Returns
  • the making of In The Lion
  • the making of My Dead Bunny
  • the making of Brobot
  • visual literacy
  • the picture book-making process

if you’re after something else, please get in touch

I can run workshops on …

  • how to draw cartoons
  • creating comics/graphic novels
  • zombie animal zoo - designing zombie pets through collage and/or clay sculpture
  • secrets of character design
  • how to make clay character maquettes
  • digital illustration techniques
  • how to write/illustrate picture books (minimum 2.5 hours)
  • making a collaborative picture book in a day (requires 5 school contact hours, 12-20 students max)

if you’re after something else, please get in touch

I also do …

literature festivals, professional development sessions for teachers, workshops for adults, artist residencies, murals and community projects.

Helping Sessions Run Smoothly

General Requirements

Please provide:

  • a suitable venue (see below)
  • either a digital projector or smartboard
  • a whiteboard/easel
  • a table to put my props and paraphernalia on

I will bring:

  • my own laptop/ipad and adapters
  • paper to do demonstration drawings on

If you have specified that you would like to include a drawing activity, please provide:

  • plain white A4 paper
  • lead pencils
  • something for each student to lean on (e.g. a clipboard or book)

Venues & Scheduling

Sessions work best in a quiet venue that’s away from distractions and interruptions.

It’s also ideal if sessions can be located in one venue only over the course of the day. Usually the library, hall or theatre work great.

Please allow me at least a 10min breather between sessions.

If you need to run sessions in different venues over the day, please allocate at least 25 minutes between sessions

(i.e. it takes me 10 minutes to pack up a session, 15 minutes to set up the next session, and however long to get from one session to the other).

Group Sizes

65 students is an ideal group size for a workshop or talk.

I can work with larger groups provided all class teachers are present to assist with behaviour management.

If there are more than 120 students in a group, I’d greatly appreciate a PA and microphone.

Video Recording is not Permitted

I get paid to give talks and run workshops, so please, no video recording.

However, do feel free to take photos during the sessions.

Book Sales

I’d be happy to arrange book orders prior to or after the event with a local bookseller.

Behaviour Management

Generally this is not an issue, however if I need a hand I will indicate to teachers to assist.

Do let me know before each session if there are any behaviour issues I need to be aware of.


It’s common sense really, but I need to say it anyway - I require at least one other teacher in the room with me at all times during a session. Ultimately, the school is responsible for duty of care.

I strongly encourage all class teachers to attend sessions with their classes, and to participate. A single visit by an author/illustrator can lead to weeks of themed, curriculum-based activities - but only if the teacher attends the visit and pays attention ;) 

There are classroom resources for all my books at www.jamesfoley.com.au/teachers.


  • James was a huge hit with our students and his sessions sold out - up to 800 students in our biggest venue. He had the kids enthralled and was such a pleasure to work with too. He is very easy going and positive.

    Whitsunday Voices - July 2018

    Whitsunday Voices - July 2018
    James Foley
  • Absolutely brilliant! James was entertaining, inspirational and appealed to all levels from Kindy through to Year 6 and the staff! Highly recommend James!

    Our Lady of Lourdes - August, 2017

    Our Lady of Lourdes - August, 2017
    James Foley
  • Everything was well organised and went to plan. James was an excellent speaker and engaged with all year levels. He was easy to work with and left some of his drawings for the school to display. I would recommend him to others.

    James Foley - Kalamunda Primary School - August, 2016

    James Foley - Kalamunda Primary School - August, 2016
    James Foley
James Foley